Industrious task brings consequences

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, February 27, 2011

I knew the time was coming. I just didn’t know when.

I had made the necessary purchase for the day, yet I stillresisted.

I saw neighbors outside doing it, but any peer pressure I mayhave felt still did not persuade me.

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So what finally got me out of the house to do the chore I hadbeen avoiding so long?

No more football. And a little warmer weather.

With the sun shining the Sunday afternoon after the Super Bowland nothing on television (even the USA network was runningsomething other than an ‘NCIS’ marathon) to tempt me to relax onthe couch, I finally broke out the rakes I had bought a few weeksbefore and set out to rid the front yard of leaves. I know rakingleaves is a routine task for many – and some even enjoy theactivity – but I was unaccustomed to this new adventure in homeownership.

A couple of weeks earlier, I had bought a two-rake set, one forsmaller areas and one for larger patches of yard. The handles wereblack and the teeth were orange and I wondered if I could waituntil Halloween to use them. Not really.

Anyway, on my chosen workday, I set out at a brisk pace.

First I used the small rake to get the flaky brown drop-inguests off the porch. That took only a few minutes and into thetrash bag they went.

Then I targeted the flowerbed leaves that had pretty muchcovered the whole area. With my rake weaving in between the bushes,the leaves flew into the yard itself.

Next, I fetched the larger rake and started gathering andpushing leaves toward the street. My front yard is not that big andI figured I was making pretty good time after a couple of passes asI worked from one side to the other.

My friends, particularly those in my church group with whom I’veenjoyed a number of sports and similar physical activities, willtell you I’m not having fun unless I’m getting hurt in some smallway. That can be a bruise, a small scrape or some othernon-debilitating injury.

I must have been having fun using the rake because I was gettinghurt. I just wasn’t feeling it until I stopped for a Gatoradebreak.

Inside my right thumb, near the web, was a good ole rupturedblister that had developed as the result of some absent-mindeddecision to not wear gloves.

After returning from bandaging the wound and putting on somemake-do gloves, I found my neighbor out tending to her yard. Shecomplimented me on my industriousness in using a rake.

“What do you use?” I inquired.

“I just get the lawnmower,” she said matter-of-factly.

Ah, the lawnmower, that wonderful device that I had become soaccustomed to before the chilly temps arrived a few monthsearlier.

I really don’t know why I hadn’t just used the lawnmower, butthere was some reluctance. Perhaps I was secretly yearning to havea reason to do some of the physical labor that raking wouldprovide.

But looking that afternoon at the mounds of leaves I hadaccumulated and what still had to be done, pushing the lawnmower togrind up the leaves sounded like all the workout I could stand.After a couple of stops to unload the catcher bag, my afternoon wasdone.

Whether it’s grass cut or leaves removed, it seems you canalways tell when someone’s been tending to his or her yard. Notthat my neighbors’ yards were in any great need of attention, but Icertainly could after my Sunday afternoon activity.

It used to be that when I’d see a friend raking leaves, I’d slowdown or stop and jokingly point out, “You missed a spot.”

Now that I can be on the receiving end of that quip, I’llreadily acknowledge I missed a spot. It’s the backyard.

That’s all for now.

Write to Matthew Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS39602, or send e-mail to